My loving heavenly Father has been making me stare down my past, making me learn to rightly rest in Him for my present, and teaching me to trust Him with my future. It's been a pretty big deal and the good news is that, much like Eustace Scrubb in C.S. Lewis' "Voyage of The Dawn Treader", the dragon scales are falling off of this stubborn saved sinner, and the far too often blind eyes of a redeemed doubter are beginning to be focused much more clearly... not simply on the abstract idea of a theoretical Christ who saves sinners but on the real Person of Jesus - Immanuel - God with us - the Lamb of God who died for this sinner.
I hope in the next few days or weeks to begin to share some things again with you - both here on my blog and on Face Book. Today, I want to share one thing that greatly encouraged my heart over the weekend and has captivated it again this day.
As I mentioned, I have really been made to stare down my past. It is not something I intended to do. It has been literally forced down my throat and it has not been an easy pill to swallow. The past year and a half of my life has involved my having to accept some really hard things. It has further involved my having to begin to deeply trust the all wise and utterly sovereign hand of God in those really hard things. Even over the course of the last few days I have been made to look in the face of one who has haunted me and hear the very words that far too often have unfolded as whispers in my own mind. That happened in an all too uncanny way while watching a Disney movie with my family - the movie being "Tangled". My husband was there - he witnessed it and was as flabbergasted as I!!
[Now, a caveat - I FULLY accept the Biblical admonition that we are to forget what lies behind and press on towards what lies ahead. Far too often we dwell too much on yesterday and end up being paralyzed by our self-imposed wallowing. There is a flip side to that though. Personally, I am one of those who has far too often denied my past and in so doing I have been paralyzed by my own toughness. Getting out of that calloused condition has been and is still being a process for me - very much a process. Oh, sweet sanctification!! I am thankful for a patient God and even more thankful for a personal Savior - the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, more on all of that later.]
So... what am I getting at? Well, if you, like myself, have some yesterdays that just simply stink, or perhaps your today seems terrible from your current point of view, or maybe your tomorrow looks bleak and bitterly cold and absolutely unbearable - then these next few words are for you.
Saturday morning, while reading of Jesus' healing of a deaf and mute man in Mark 7, these words jumped off the page to me: Jesus "has done ALL things well." Apparently they jumped off the page to my dear departed father in the faith, J C Ryle.
"Let us remember this as we look back over the days past of our lives. 'Our Lord has done all things well.' He has done all things well in first bringing us out of darkness into marvelous light - in humbling us and teaching us our weakness, guilt and folly - in stripping us of our idols, and choosing all our portions - in placing us where we are, and giving us what we have - how well EVERYTHING has been done! How great the mercy that we have not had our own way!
"Let us remember this as we look forward to the days yet to come. We know not what they may be, bright or dark, many or few. But we know that we are in the hands of Him who 'doeth all things well.'
"He will not err in any of His dealings with us. He will take away and give - He will afflict and bereave - He will move and He will setlle, with perfect wisdom, at the right time and in the right way. The great Shepherd of the sheep makes no mistakes. He leads every lamb of His flock by the right way to the city of habitation.
"We shall never see the full beauty of these words till the resurrection morning. We shall then look back over our lives, and know the meaning of everything that happened from first to last. We shall remember all the ways by which we were led, and confess that ALL was 'well done.'
"The why and the wherefore, the causes and the reasons of everything which now perplexes, will be clear and plain as the sun at noon-day. We shall wonder at our own past blindness, and marvel that we could ever have doubted our Lord's love. 'Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now we know in part, but then shall we know even as we are known.'"
Beloved friends, whatever you have faced, whatever you are even now facing, whatever waits to pounce upon your path tomorrow or the next day - know that it flows from the hands of an all-wise, all-loving, all-sovereign Savior - One who does ALL things well! One who is working all things together well! Here is one of the great comforts of the Christian, here is one of the practical blessings and benefits of resting in Jesus the Redeemer. Not only does He redeem your life from the eternal pit, He redeems it from the earthly one as well and makes all things beautiful in their time. He shall restore the years the locusts have eaten. (Joel 2:25-27)
Do you know this miracle Worker? Do you know this loving Savior of the ransacked? Are you resting in the ability of the Master Architect to straighten that which is crooked? Are you trusting in the Sun of Righteousness to shed light on the road that is deeply dark? Are you gazing upon the all lovely Lilly of the Valley, Jesus, the One who makes the broken beautiful?
My friends, Jesus does all things well. How thankful I am for that which He is doing in me - "though painful at present" - and how I pray that you will see that He is doing the same in each of you!
Kept by the grace of Christ Jesus alone,